TRANSIT ZONE FOR WHITE DEATH

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TRANSIT ZONE FOR WHITE DEATH

Parlamentskaya Gazeta, October 23, 2002, EV

The afterword for parliamentary hearings dedicated to countermeasures against the use of illicit drugs in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

Over the past decade, the propagation of drug addiction in Russia is quick. The consumption of drugs and psychotropic substances is growing; and the amount of drug trafficking is increasing. The army is a mirror of society. Unfortunately, this adversity didn’t pass it by.

Reduard Vorobyev, Deputy Chairman of the Duma defense committee: “Drug addiction has penetrated the army. The quality of the recruits leaves much to be desired. Between 1999 and 2000, the number of conscripts found unfit for duty due to drug addiction increased from 4,700 to almost 21,000 people. According to statistics, a fifth of enlisted soldiers had tried drugs when at school. The situation with drug addiction in the army is especially difficult in the North Caucasus, Siberia and the Far East.”

As far as drugs are concerned, the Chechen war could be considered as the continuation of the Afghani war. The picture is more distressing at the moment, however. In 1979-89 only 10% of servicemen were taking drugs. Among the participants of military operations in the North Caucasus, the share of such has reached 25% already.

The peak of crimes in the army fell for 1998, Major General of Justice Alexander Arutyunyan, Deputy Main Military Prosecutor confessed. The command has drawn the necessary conclusions. Nowadays, the situation has become stable and a decline of drug-related crimes has even outlined.

The anti-drug proliferation federal program for 2002-04 envisages allocation of 20 million rubles to the Defense Ministry for these purposes. At the same time, the cost of a standard test is $3. However, the test should be taken somewhere. But where? Since 1989, no special equipment is being supplied for the laboratories. The medics are working with the obsolete equipment. In order this gap could be eliminated, the army needs $30 million in the least.

The Duma has 16 bills, which are beyond all aimed at improvement of the military penal code. However, they are seemingly unlikely to be considered in the near future. Could it be of some good to revert to the experience of the predecessors?

KENNETH GLUCK’S ABDUCTOR TESTIFIES


One of the members of the group that abducted Kenneth Gluck, head of Doctors Without Borders in the North Caucasus, in January 2001, was arrested in Chechnya on Monday. According to Chechnya’s Prosecutor Nikolai Kostyutchenko, the investigation has already established the detained guerrilla’s guilt. However, the Prosecutor refused to name the criminal’s name, citing “operational reasons”. The other six abductors of Gluck are wanted by the federal authorities. To all appearances, the investigators already know their location.

The head of the Doctors Without Borders mission was abducted in the Chechen village of Stariye Atagi on January 9, 2001. The authorities didn’t ransom Gluck; they freed him following a special operation within a month after his abduction, on February 4, 2001. However, they didn’t manage to arrest the criminals. As for Gluck, he returned to the US shortly after his release.

According to the first assumption of the FSB, Kenneth Gluck was captured by Yakub’s band that reported to the Akhmadov brothers. As for the motives of the abduction, they were rather unusual. They abducted Gluck not with the purpose of random, but because Chechen guerrillas suspected him of cooperation with one of the Western special services. According to them, Kenneth Gluck collected information concerning Islamic extremists fighting on the side of Chechen gangs.

However, Chechen Prosecutor Nikolai Kostyutchenko said yesterday that Gluck’s kidnapping had been organized by the guerrillas’ “emir” Abubakar Dzumayev, who was killed during a special operation last February.

“We know the names of all the suspects, but we can’t name them now, in the interests of the investigation. However, I will be able to tell you about this case more precisely some days later. The detained man is charged with abduction, under article 126 and the first part of article 208 of the Criminal Code of Russian Federation,” Nikolai Kostyutchenko said yesterday.

It seems that the investigators have managed to locate the tracks of the American’s abductors very recently. The criminal investigation into the abduction of Kenneth Gluck, which had been started on January 10, 2001, was suspended. It was resumed on October 18, 2002. As for the arrested abductor of Gluck, they are checking on his possible implication in other crimes.

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